It was an odd Week 15 from the Tennessee Titans passing game. The team defeated the New York Giants 17-0 on the road, but Marcus Mariota completed 12 of 20 passes for just 88 yards, without any touchdowns or interceptions (What’s weird is that Mariota isn’t even on pace to hit 3,000 passing yards on the season; At this rate he’d finish with 2,976).
Instead, Derrick Henry was the core of the Titans offense for a second straight week, running for 170 yards on 33 carries and scoring two touchdowns. In his last two games Henry has rushed 50 times for 408 yards and six touchdowns. In otherwise, 408 of his 882 total rushing yards came from the last two weeks. How’s that for inflation?
Anyway, The Titans-Giants game amounted to playing in a monsoon, so Tennessee abandoned the pass while they were up and stuck to letting Henry pound the rock. I usually give quarterbacks a pass in these kind of conditions considering how difficult it is to gripe the football, but even so, Mariota did manage to stack up a few nice throws, so we’re going to look at those in this week’s edition of Keeping Up With Marcus Mariota.
The Giants send a five-man blitz on this 3rd and 9. Mariota’s quick release stands out, as he gets the ball out of his hands to Corey Davis with comfortable mechanics without letting the defensive back get a chance to make a play on it. The result is a precise sideline pass to Davis to convert the first down.
Tennessee faces another 3rd and long, this time needing 12 yards to convert the first. Mariota reacts extremely well to edge pressure coming off his blind side by spinning out of trouble, moving outside the pocket and buying time to extend the play. Eventually, just before getting hit he finds Davis on a great throw to convert the first down.
This play is a little similar, except this time the tight end Luke Stocker is the focal point of the play. Mariota once again rolls out of the pocket and buys time. It’s nice to see him using his patience and space around him to look for open receivers instead of forcing it to someone immediately. He gets this pass to Stocker who converts the first down.
Overall, I really didn’t see anything bad from Marcus Mariota’s misses, and some of his completions looked pretty nice. It’s just hard to get anything from a game where it’s nearly impossible to grip the football. The bigger concern is if the Titans want to win these last two games, they’ll need to refocus on the passing game (unless of course Henry sustains his incredible two-game stretch).
Regardless, the Titans are riding a three-game winning streak in a season that’s been a roller coaster of ups and downs, so it’s nice to see them at least winning in the latter half of the season. Overall, I thought Mariota was fine against the Giants, and hopefully the weather will be a little less chaotic these last two weeks at home.